Prang'S Civil War Chromo-Lithographs
Before dawn on December
11, Union soldiers and engineers began to launch and fasten together
pontoon boats to bridge the Rappahannock River. The Confederate
sharpshooters waited until it was light, and when the fog lifted,
they opened fire on the men building the tandem pontoon bridges.
Burnside ordered a brigade to cross the river in loose pontoon boats
to roust the snipers. By evening, the Union soldiers had cleared
the town. Burnside moved his army across the bridges on December
12, and on the 13th, attacked Lee's well defended positions on Marye's
Heights. Burnside's attack was turned back with 12,600 casualties.
Lee's repulse of the Union army at Fredericksburg redeemed his failure